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New council organizes, invites public to legislative process

CHAIR’S 3 MINUTES

The 2017-19 term for the Maui County Council officially began on Jan. 2. Welcome to newly elected Council Members Alika Atay, Kelly King and Yuki Lei Sugimura.

The council’s inauguration ceremony featured up-and-coming local band Na Wai Eha and keynote speaker Ronald Kouchi, president of the state Senate. He shared his commitment to improve Maui County’s hospital and health care system. He stressed the importance of working together to better our community, not only within the county, but also with our sister counties throughout the state.

Coming together will be especially important as we begin to tackle critical issues here at home and also at the state Legislature.

I am honored to continue serving as council chair and look forward to working with the new council in crafting quality legislation. The council at its organizational meeting also voted to appoint Robert Carroll as vice chair and Stacy Crivello as presiding officer pro tempore.

Council Member Stacy Crivello was also appointed as the Maui County Council representative on the Hawaii State Association of Counties executive committee, with Council Member Riki Hokama as the alternate. Crivello will serve as HSAC president until June 30 and lead the organization’s efforts this coming state legislative session.

This council will be ready to focus on important issues like affordable housing, social services, the Upcountry water meter list and the Molokai Community Plan. While there may be policy disagreements expected, Sen. Kouchi reminded us that we sought for elected office to contribute in the betterment of the community. This, we can agree on.

My hope is that we move forward in the spirit of cooperation. That is why the ability to obtain relevant and timely documentation in the legislative process to encourage public participation shall be a continued effort. This is a mandate in the Maui County General Plan.

The community can stay connected with the council on mauicounty.us, which would allow members of the public to review the same bills, resolutions and other documents as council members. All council and committee meetings are also streamed live online.

In addition, less paper is used within council offices. Council members can opt to use their mobile tablet or laptop to review documents during meetings in the Council Chambers. This technology reduced the need to maintain multiple bulky paper binders.

The website’s array of meeting videos offers expediency whenever there is a need to review past discussions. The public can review select portions of a meeting at their convenience, then share the videos on social media, or even download and embed them on websites.

Users also have the ability to receive email notifications on legislative topics. A four-step instruction guide on how to receive alerts is available on mauicounty.us/agendas. Stay connected and well informed.

I look forward to the new term!

* Mike White is chair of the Maui County Council. He holds the council seat for the Paia-Haiku-Makawao residency area. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters. Go to mauicounty.us for more information.

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